Depending on the severity of the condition, Peyronie’s disease may clear up on its own. Peyronie’s disease (PD) is an affliction that results in a curvature or shortening of the penis during an erection. More frequently, however, it requires medical intervention to eliminate symptoms and provide relief.
Leaving Peyronie’s disease untreated can lead to a worsening of the symptoms, such as a greater curvature that leads to an inability to achieve a full erection. Some men with PD experience an increase in pain as the disease progresses. Either of these situations can create a loss of the ability to have sexual intercourse, which can lead to a variety of concerning issues.
What Causes Peyronie’s Disease?
Peyronie’s Disease occurs when scar tissue, also called plaque, forms just underneath the skin of the penis. When the penis heals from the injury, scar tissue may form. This fibrosis reduces the elasticity of the penis, which affects the ability of the organ to attain a full and normal erection.
Some doctors and researchers believe PD forms after a trauma to the penis. An industrial accident or injury during athletic activity can lead to the formation of this condition. Repeated trauma during sexual intercourse also may lead to this illness, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, some men with Peyronie’s cannot recall suffering such an incident.
Prevalence of Peyronie’s Disease
Researchers at the Urology Care Foundation are not in complete agreement as to why PD forms in some men and not in others, although it does seem to be more prevalent in older men. The organization says about 6% of men ages 40 to 70 have PD. Although it’s not unheard of, rarer occurrences of this condition can arise in younger men.
The exact number of men with Peyronie’s Disease is difficult to determine. According to research from the Albert Einstein Medical Center, only 44% of patients reported instances of erectile dysfunction to their care provider. This statistic shows that the number of men living with PD may be higher than what current data shows.
Common Symptoms of Peyronie’s Disease
The most common symptom of Peyronie’s is an upward curvature in the penis during an erection. Some men may notice a downward or sideways bend. Having a curved penis is not cause for concern if there isn’t any pain, and sexual intercourse is still possible. However, in extreme cases, a man may have a misshapen member during an erection or a shortened penis. Any of these symptoms can cause significant pain during an erection, or they may cause difficulty in achieving sexual penetration.
Upon noticing these symptoms, consulting with a medical professional can work to treat this condition early.
Does Peyronie’s Disease Cause Other Illnesses?
Many men discover that they have Peyronie’s Disease upon noticing small lumps underneath the skin of their penis. Thankfully, these growths are noncancerous. Yet, PD can often be a result of a pre-existing state of health, such as diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.
This illness may be a contributing factor in other conditions, including:
- Nerve damage: where the scar tissue may affect the nerves in the penis and genitals, leading to permanent damage.
- Urethra damage: where the scar tissue may encircle the penis or may damage the urethra, leading to difficulty in urinating or achieving orgasm.
- Formation of fibrosis: this is where the scar tissue forming in the penis may also develop in other parts of the body, including the hands, feet, and palms. In this instance, it’s called Dupuytren’s contracture.
Although some of the scar tissues found in Peyronie’s may act like cancer cells, it alone does not cause cancer. However, some researchers from Baylor College have found that those who have this condition may have an increased cancer risk in other parts of the body.
Psychological Effects of Peyronie’s Disease
The pain from an erection for those with Peyronie’s may cause men to have emotional distress, which can be a contributing factor to erectile dysfunction. An article from Translational Andrology and Urology reports that 80% of men diagnosed with PD report symptoms of depression and distress. Additionally, the same study stated that because of the shame associated with the condition, over 50% of men noted that their romantic relationships had suffered. The loss of sexual confidence and the ability to maintain an erection consequently led to a decreased interest in intercourse for those affected.
Taking Action Against Peyronie’s Disease
Rather than waiting to see what happens if Peyronie’s is left untreated, many men may want to have their condition treated as soon as possible. Some doctors may recommend medication, surgery, or injections to soften the scar tissue, hopefully leading to stronger erections.
Another option is a non-invasive and advanced treatment for Peyronie’s disease. GAINSWave® treatment incorporates high frequency and low-intensity shockwaves. This type of therapy attempts to break down the scar tissue in the penis without the need for injections or surgery.
For more information, contact a GAINSWave® therapy provider for a consultation.